Confessions of a two month CEO blogger

At the Forrester Marketing Forum in LA, held on April 8-9, I gave a short presentation on my first two months of blogging. Many of the marketing executives in attendance are urging their CEOs to blog -- I thought my early impressions might prepare them for CEO reactions. Here goes:

Number One: "No one is reading my blog -- my out-sized ego can't take it." Prepare your CEO for a slow audience build.

Number Two: "Once a week? I'm too busy trying to run the company to do this." Yes, one post a week may only take a few hours -- but "...getting into the conversation" -- reading and commenting at other blogs -- what all experienced bloggers urge you to do, will double the time required.

Number Three: "The technology sucks." Blogging technology is shockingly crude. Get ready to give your CEO tech support -- even around the fundamentals like getting a picture into a post.

Number Four: "I'm not getting anything back." This is the corrollary to Number One. I often feel like I'm on a one-way phone conversation -- I talk, but there's no one listening. I lust for value-filled comments that will improve and drive my ideas. With time, they will come.

Number Five: "Where the hell is the money in this thing? Why are we giving this away for free?" I get it -- that if you blow pizza smoke out into the street, people will come in and buy pizza. But other CEOs may have a tougher time justifying the commitment of time and resources to blogging. Get ready to make a tangible ROI case.

Comments

Loss Leader Blogging

Bob I feel your pain. Writing and writing and writing. Hoping to gain comments, feedback, or just something can be frustrating for those of us who need it like an addict needs a fix.

This is what I read recently at a different blog and it made sense.

Think of blogging like a loss leaders product in the grocery store. You may not ever make a profit from the blog and you are creating a buzz that brings people in who may do business with you at a higher level later. Makes sense to me, yet frustrating. We just need to write and update and repeat.

Thanks for an inspiring article.

re: Confessions of a two month CEO blogger

Hi George,Congrats on making it to the 2-month-mark!During the Marketing Forum, I told Jeremiah about this blog of the CEO of the BI Deaconess: http://runningahospital.blogspot.com/The CEO blogs everyday, sometimes twice, about everything from hospital business to his personal life.Also, it would have been great for you to cite/link to Charlene Li and Chloe Stromberg's ROI of blogging in your post (and presentation): http://www.forrester.com/Research/Document/0,7211,41064,00.htmlBest regards,Julie

re: Confessions of a two month CEO blogger

Perhaps the question is Why Blog?A clear purpose is really helpful when you blog. It sustains you through the quiet times and helps you survive being flamed. I just survived being called a g.. d... idiot for post about a new Nike ad with Kobe Bryant. Definitely not fun.And as for ROI, you better get a some sort of psychic ROI from blogging. If you don't, you won't last.Hang in there and write for your self.

re: Confessions of a two month CEO blogger

Great blog following a good presentation at the Marketing Forum.I was challenged in finding your blog since I naturally just google everything if you google the following you can see it's not easy to find your blog - forrester blog or George F. Colony's Blog the actual links are pretty far down the page. People can't even find you, stop lurking in the alley and follow some search fundamentals to greater traffic.Thanks for the content, I look forward to reading, learning and commenting in the future.

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Scott:How do I get my blog to appear higher in Google? What are those "search fundamentals?"Thanks.George

re: Confessions of a two month CEO blogger

GeorgeThere's some basic things the web team should (and probably does) for your blog for search engine optimization.In your situation, you're already well known online, so those other prominent pages (your profile on Forbes, and Forrester) are already scoring very high.A quick win is to get your executive profile on the Forrester.com site to cross link with this blog.To really make a difference it's to get other websites and blogs to link to this blog from their blog. How to get them to do that? A blogger must be interesting or add value to get linkage, you're certainly on your way.

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George,I agree with Jeremiah. You are well on your way.If you keep blowing "Pizza Smoke" out the door more people will come to your company for advice.These people will also spread the word that forrester is eating it's own dog food; and to have a CEO blogging is the highest truth & proof of understanding for your target market.The fact that the Forrester CEO blogs speaks volumes about direction and involvement from the top.Your 5 observations are quite typical for first time high level bloggers.Point number 4: only 1-4% of readers will take the time to respond. So give yourself a break, people are definitely listening and watching. Keep the faith, you are building you audience.Point 5: ROI. What is the value of extending the Forrester reach and brand? If you get 3 new clients and that leads to over 1-2 million in consulting is that good value of your time?Think about that. Who pulls the trigger on budgets? SR. Level Execs. These people want access to the top of your organization and you are providing that via the blog. This blog is a lead gen tool for your business, you just don't realize it's full impact yet.Be Great!Rodney RumfordEditor: www.Facereviews.comCEO: Gravitational Media

re: Confessions of a two month CEO blogger

Jeremiah and Rodney:Thanks for the guidance/advice/encouragement. The important thing is that I am having fun doing this -- and it does appear that I am helping advance the Forrester brand.All the best,George

re: Confessions of a two month CEO blogger

George,You are very welcome.The fact that you are having fun with this is a great sign. You might just be a blogger/communicator/sharer at heart.I started blogging years ago and it took me about 5 months to really find my groove/style and now blogging is just 1 channel that I use to share thoughtful knowledge and insights.As an example of how does this blogging/RSS thing help. I shot a video interview with Charlene Li and Josh Berman about the book Groundswell. It is on my blog now and on youtube, and in facebook and referenced on twitter, etc. The Forrester brand like many companies, is starting to live in multiple areas online.p.s.I actually dislike the term blogger. You are sharing knowledge and the blog just happens to be one of the channels of distribution. We are communicators. But blogger is a title that people like to easily hang around my neck. I could be called worse.

re: Confessions of a two month CEO blogger

Maybe you'll need to consult with the president of Zappos to come up to speed on the need to tweet.http://twitter.com/zapposhttp://twitter.zappos.com/start

re: Confessions of a two month CEO blogger

I might suggest one more ...keep it personal and keep it away from the "corp comms" people.

re: Confessions of a two month CEO blogger

George, thanks for sharing your story. I am impressed that a CEO will actually take the time to respond to comments external to his company. My company recently started internal executive blogs and they are going through similar issues. They don't feel a conversation. Of course, this could be due to the fact that only the execs have blogs and there isn't a blog culture here. But, at least they are trying.Again, impressed that you are blogging and taking part in the conversation. Have fun!

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You'll get more readers if you link to other blogs and ask them to do so in return. (Hint.)And, if all the links you include did not appear to be self-serving corporate ads or links to other things you personally have written. (The latter, in particular, makes it appear that you believe you are the only one with interesting things to say.)

re: Confessions of a two month CEO blogger

Wow!!Thanks to Paul, Colin, Rodney, Julie, and others for your advice/coaching/handholding -- very helpful.George

re: Confessions of a two month CEO blogger

The power brokers of yesterday aren't the same. It's amazing that the CEO of a respectable company like Forrester (and others for that matter)is blogging, hoping for feedback, etc. I'm a 26 year old entrepreneur interacting with the CEO of Forrester. We're almost interacting like peers. Amazing stuff.Congrats on starting your blog. I'll try to add my 2 cents when relevant.Best,Raza Imamhttp://SoftwareSweatshop.com

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George,I have been asked by more than a few CEOs about whether they should blog or not. My response is No and Yes. No in terms of blogging to blog. First, have a reason to connect with an audience with a specific line of thought/content and if the blog becomes the vehicle for distributing that content, then yes, by all means, blog. If the content is viable and relevant, you won't lack for follow-through.For many reasons the medium has overpowered the message with Blogs.Regarding the quote by Raza, as the voice of an individual has been elevated through social media tools, the office of the CEO has come down a couple of notches from the ivory tower. As a business owner/leader, I personally don't mind this dynamic. The tower wasn't of my creation and I get more from the collective intelligence of our crowd.good post and comments. thanks.Cheers! Mark Silva

re: Confessions of a two month CEO blogger

George,I am a long-time Forrester services customer and someone who just started blogging in the last 30 days.I completely understand your comments and concerns from the CEO perspective. CEOs from very large companies may not have the time to take this on and may also have to consider the risks, especially if their company is publicly traded. Shareholder lawsuits over perceived promotion of a company stock by an executive are a real danger.However, I believe in your specific case, blogging is a very important way for you to communicate and reach out to your current and potential future customers. Also, you, as the CEO of a company that delivers analysis, research and expertise in social media and interactive marketing (created through the intersection of marketing, services and technology) to your customers, show that you, the leader, are an active participant in this new ecosystem.Congratulations on blogging, taking a risk and exposing yourself to some incredible opportunities.I look forward to reading future articles and thoughts.Sincere thanks for showing the way.Bert DuMarshttp://socialmediaecosystem.blogspot.com

re: Confessions of a two month CEO blogger

Some additional optimization thoughts:* You've got your own Wikipedia entry for Forrester... I'd bet you could add a pointer to your blog there (in addition to the one that's already there for your website).* How do you want people to find you? Figure that out and change your title and description to match. (Not just the meta tags, copy in the site, too - especially categories!)* I echo the previous comments about loving what you do! It's that passion that's contagious and that will build genuine referrals and readership.Blog on! :-)

re: Confessions of a two month CEO blogger

George,Heard you speak at OMTR Summit - great stuff, well done. In your bit about the market demographic and their behaviors around interaction media, you mentioned that IBM as an example are utilizing video game platforms as training tools. This is an area that I have strong interest in. Wondering if you might point me to any gaming platform firms who have or are developing practices around corporate training or similar. Looking to identify the leaders in the space.Thanks,Jim